Indian Sponsored Terrorism in Baluchistan-What Next
Written By : Tariq Niaz Bhatti
In the recent past Baloch nationalistmovementhas gone through a mammoth change in itsideology, work methodology and lethality as peaceful protests for provincial autonomy havenow evolved into secession through terrorism. Indian support to militant organizations especially Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) is old,well organized and seems to move in tandem with the rise of Kashmiri freedom struggle by indigenous population of occupied Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). In recent years speedy implementation of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in Baluchistanis seeing a side by side rise in both quantum and lethality of BLA sponsored terrorism.Question arises, Is India executing a counter Kashmir strategy by creating unrest, halt development projects and intend to embroilPakistan’s security forces in counter insurgency operations in Baluchistan?
It seems so as the arrest of CommanderKalboshanJhadav in Baluchistan province,a serving naval officer working with India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), vindicate the assertion. His post arrest revelations further points towards deeperinvolvement of RAW to foment and perpetrate terrorism in the name of independence of Baluchistan.Recent terrorist attack on Karachi Stock Exchange, though failed miserably, is alarming for our security agencies. BLA attack onChinese Consulate in Karachiin 2018 should have been an eye opener but our agencies remained contend with their reactive strategy of catching the perpetrators. Over the years RAWhas developed the capacity to exploit the Baloch sense of deprivation with the connivance of certain disgruntled elements amongst Tribal Chiefs (Sardars).BLA recruits lowly educated and mostly jobless youths in remote districts of Makran, Kharan, Lasbella and Kalat to hit targets that hurts province’s economic interest, halt ongoing projects funded through foreign investment and ultimately provide them with propaganda themes for use at international forums.
Question of Baloch nationalism has a historic background. At the time of partition British managed Baluchistan in a completely different manner as compared to other states due to its geography,scanty and scattered population and a well-entrenched Sardari system. Because of its diverse population largely comprising Baloch and Pashtuns, the Sardarsand Pashtun tribal chiefshad their respective areas of influence in southern and northern parts of province respectively. Khan of Kalat always considered himself as head of a non-Indian state and also not part of India proper. As a result of political awakening specially in the wake of Government of India Act 1935, certain groups and political parties sprung up to seek concessions from British colonial rulers.
Amid these politicalupheavalsquestion of status of Baluchistan in Federal India remained unresolved between Khan of Kalat and British until 1947.The Khan persistently asserted with Britishauthorities regarding status of his Khanate as special and independent just because ofpersonal prestige and power and not out of any real political purpose or for social and economic development of the province. However on Quaid insistence Khan joined Pakistan on partition. But Sardari system remained in vogue in the province which kept the general public under virtual slavery and helped Sardars to keep the flame of their autonomy cum independence burning.In 1976 while abolishing the Sardari System, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the then Prime Minister said “An independent Baluchistan cannot exist. It lacks the essential strength for maintaining independence. Do they wish to gain independence through the help of some bigger power? Pakistan is strong enough to defeat this conspiracy. But why this talk of independence when you are free and full participants of the independence and sovereignty of Pakistan. These people who have been shouting for an independent Baluchistan want to maintain their own system and their freedom to treat the common people of Baluchistan as their slaves just as they did during the days of the British”.
To counter the genuine freedom struggle in occupied J&K, India started to use proxy organization in Baluchistan to create general unrestthrough killings of non-locals, bombing trains, blowing up bridges and hitting foreign nationals working on development projects. India connived with local disgruntled elements tochange the theme of their struggle from provincial autonomy to free or independentBaluchistan. It not only funded these organizations locally but helped build their off shore offices.India is endeavoring to internationalize the bogey of Baluch nationalism by inciting youths from far flung areas to commit themselves to terror acts and Sardars for their patronage to incite the youths. Iranian border city of Chahbahar and Afghan city of Kandahar are used asIndianbases forconducting and managing the terror operations.
Fencing of Pak-Afghan border is near completion andthe same for the Iranian border is in the pipeline. Bothmeasures though reactive in nature, will reduce the trafficking of terrorists but may not eliminate it altogether.Pakistan needs proactive measures as a tit for tat against Indian involvement in the province.Pakistan must take this war to enemy backyard by any and every possible means. Concerned agencies must endeavor to track and trace terror financing by mapping and tracking the movements of self-exiled leaders of so called liberation organizationsin their host countries, Europe or USA. Pakistan must take measures, on regular basis, to remind the neighboring governments of Afghanistan and Iran not to allow use of their respective territory by India against Pakistan. Our embassies must arrange talks and seminars to spread their viewpoint in respective capitals for information of general public.
Baluchistan needs developmentsespecially in its remote parts like southern districts. Projects like M-8 which connects RatoDero with Turbat and Gwadarvia remote areas likeHoshab and Awaran are a welcome developmentand needs expeditious completion. Project will promote trade and access of local productsto far flung markets and will go a long way in promotion of education and poverty alleviation.
Pakistan need further promotion of trade with its western neighbors as the existing volumes are too low to be effective leverage of negotiation for mending their attitudes and behavior.With completion of CPEC projects in the provincelocal trade will also develop and ensure enhancedpeople to people contact. Initiation of political dialogue with the militant organizationsmust be an ongoing process and undertaken until the insurgency totally eliminates.